Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive

The Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive (BFA) is a vital and diverse group of collections that document and preserve the legacy of Black women and their allies, including the movements and organizations born from their work across many fields, including academia, politics, literature, and the arts, as well as in the community at the local, state, and global level. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Irma (as she likes to be called), the Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center (SCUA) has connected with Black women whose contributions to society may not be broadly known or recognized, but whose exemplary work deserves to be archived so that researchers and scholars will become aware of its value.

In addition to Dr. Irma’s own collection, which includes photographs of iconic Black figures like Maya Angelou and James Baldwin, SCUA has recently received the papers of UMass alumna Cheryl Evans, founder of the Black Pioneers Project at UMass, anthropologists Carolyn Martin Shaw and Sheila Walker, and Mae Upperman, who was active across many decades in community organizations in Boston and was also a notable artist and collector of books by Black women authors.

Thanks to Dr. Irma’s generosity and vision, the BFA is a powerful effort to address the omission of Black women from the archival record and to ensure that there is a future in which these women and their contributions are not lost to history.”

Adam Ware, Associate Dean for Special Collections and University Archives

“We look forward to the continued growth of the collections in the Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive and are proud to provide a home for these unique materials. Our campus and the community of scholars and researchers we serve will benefit greatly from access to the BFA.”

Nandita Mani, Dean of University Libraries